Friday, January 24, 2014

As the Dust Settles

You know in the movies when there is some high tension moment and the main character has just seconds to disarm a bomb, or jump onto a train, or rescue someone from a burning building? Life can be like that sometimes. In the middle of a an acute crisis (because let's face it...we never really get advanced warning when a crisis hits) many people panic. I know I do, I start freaking out, cursing out inanimate objects, and picturing the end of the world.

Then it stops. I breathe. The resolve to make it through sets in. I remember when I was hospitalized for my gallbladder surgery. My best friend came to visit me and said "you're very calm." I was. It was at the point where I was hospitalized and I couldn't do a damn thing about any of it. I typically freak out before and after the storm, but in the thick of it, I am focused. Sometimes that makes me wonder if I'd be a good EMT. But I'm bad at math and you need to inject a lot of fluids sometimes.

Regardless of these doomsday musings, I did have an acute crisis pop up last night. While sitting in my Intro to Web Design class, thinking about how epic my final semester was going to be, I realized one very important thing: I was the oldest student in my class. Not only that, but this class was filled with sophomores and juniors in undergrad. That could mean only one thing...

I would not get graduate credit for this course.

Now, in J School, we have the option to take undergraduate classes for graduate credit if they are 3000 level or above. This was a 2000 level class. If I remained in this class that was going to teach me everything I wanted to know about web design, I would not graduate this May. I would be just 2 credits shy of graduating. I'd be left behind.

The good thing is that I realized this early on during the add/drop period. The last thing I needed was to waste hundreds of dollars on a class that would literally hold me back. I was devastated, though. I wanted to take that class more than anything. Web design is such a marketable skill which I want to build upon. But I had to find a replacement course if I wanted to wear a red cap and gown in a few months.

After the initial freakout, I actually got stranded on campus for 45min because SEPTA stopped running and failed to send a shuttle bus. I ended up hailing a cab and riding back to my apartment, miffed and just plain old tired. This morning I started making lists, weighing my options for various courses, examining my work schedule and tried to decide just what skills I need to learn before I graduate.

It came down to three courses, then two, then after a lot of pep talk and decision making...just one. I went to register and BOOM, denied. I needed to fulfill a prerequisite. It is funny because that requirement was for undergrads to prove they knew how to write journalistically, a skill I have mastered over the past two and a half years. I e-mailed the the professor. I e-mailed our program director. I e-mailed and called and panicked and waited.

By 3:20pm my crisis was over. I officially registered for Writing Arts Criticism, an upper level undergraduate course I could get graduate credit for which would teach me the skills necessary to write reviews on restaurants, museums, concerts and art galleries. A different kind of marketable skill if you will. I could take a Web Design workshop after graduation. Besides, I can't write a review for crap so hopefully I will learn a lot.

Writing Arts Criticism and Humor Writing.....should still be a decent semester.

Until next time...

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